I tried to buy a bra today. God knows why, as I am perfectly aware trying to buy a bra invariably kicks me into the Slough of Despond and then pushes me in deeper with a broom-handle.
I was standing, naked from the waist up, in a cubicle, with mirrors on every damn side. It is hard not to observe one’s
bulges curves under the circumstances. In a spirit of good-will and great cheer, I began the observation by reminding myself I had lost more weight, yes, and was about half a stone away from IVF weight now, I am so very good and clever, and so I should be looking noticeably slimmer. And I was. Am. Really. I look noticeably slimmer, noticeably even to sour-puss Bitter McTwisted ol’ me. (Also, now, none of my trousers or belts fit properly).
But, arse and bugger and damn, I do not look good. I have stretchmarks on the backs of my arms, fer Chrissakes. I have a belly like over-risen dough. And muffin-top. I still cannot force my hearty peasant calves into knee-high boots (I cannot wear wide-fitting knee-high boots because I have skinny feet and ankles. Why, yes, I do look like I stand on pig-trotters. It’s a fab look, dontcherknow). My breasts, which are DD, are sliding veerrrryy slooowwwwwly down my ribs, and to my peeved and jaundiced eye, no longer look in the least bit cute or interesting, at least, not without the aid of a Very Good Bra Indeed. We shall not discuss the thighs. I did not take my trousers off. I was trying on bras, also, I have some sense of self-preservation left. I look, in short, like a collapsing soufflé. I hate it.
I hate that even all the weight-loss in the world won’t make me perky again. I hate that the stretch-marks are permanent. I hate that even if I do get all the way down to a dainty BMI of 25 or something, I will never have a flat stomach. I will have loose skin. I’ve been too fat, too long, and anyway, the scars on my belly have rather interfered with the way my skin arranges itself.
(I could add a very self-pitying and snivelling paragraph here about how most women who look like me, look like me because they’ve had at least one kid, and if I had a kid, I’d wear the sag and flab and scar with, if not pride, exactly, then at least with the resignation of someone who knows that there was a point to it all, even if said point is currently eating his own ear-wax in the middle of the super-market aisle. But I shan’t add such a paragraph because I never never snivel. What, never? No never! What, never!? Well, hardly ever).
Coupled with the infertility thang, it all gains enough momentum to feel like a smash in the teeth. I can’t like my body for nurturing or feeding another human, because it bloody hasn’t and seemingly won’t. I can’t like it for giving me an easy ride through life because it prefers to hurt me or go wrong in complicated surgical ways. I can’t admire it for its ornamental properties because appears to be made out of suet. What the hell am I supposed to do with it? What the hell have I done to it? What did I do in a past life? Who did I piss off or fail to sleep with? Why can’t I go back in time and tell the 20-year-old me to a) eat salad rather than chocolate and b) fucking do some fucking exercise already?
And then H tells me my ears are pretty, and I want to cry, because he has such faith in my attractiveness, he believes I’m cute, an I’m sure this is based on his mental image of me aged 20, the days when I had great legs and a teeny tiny waist, and I am terrified he’ll suddenly decide to take a really good look at me one day, and think ‘oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.’ And then all the pretty ears in the universe won’t help.
Also, none of the pretty bras fitted properly, and I went home with a bath-sponge and a pair of tights instead. Go me.